Wadah Khanfa, Al Jazeera’s managing director and the man widely considered responsible for putting Al Jazeera on the international map, resigned suddenly yesterday following revelations by WikiLeaks that he had met with U.S. intelligence and agreed to remove “disturbing” web content from the Al Jazeera site.
The cables reveal that Khanfa met with U.S. intelligence in 2005 to discuss what they felt was Al Jazeera’s negative coverage of the war in Iraq.
One cable shows that Khanfa agreed to remove “two images depicting wounded children in a hospital and a woman with a badly wounded face” at an American officials request, but asked that his collaboration be kept a secret.
In his resignation letter yesterday he made no mention of the cables.
However, Khanfa told the Guardian that the Wikileaks revelations and his resignation were not connected: “Our meetings with the US have to be put in context. I have meetings with presidents, meetings with foreign ministers, with representatives of the governments of China, the US, Britain, Sudan and other countries in the world.”
He has been replace by Sheik Ahmad bin Jasem bin Muhammad Al-Thani, a member of the Qatar royal family.
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